Impulsivity and gaming


Which came first, the impulsiveness or the gaming? It seems that impulsive children with attention problems are drawn to video games, and kids without impulsivity who spend lots of time playing eventually develop impulsivity. New research indicates that impulsivity could be the end result for kids playing video games.

“This is an important finding because most research on attention problems has focused on biological and genetic factors rather than on environmental factors,” said Douglas A. Gentile, PhD, of Iowa State University and lead author.

And it’s not just violent games. The overall amount of time spent playing any kind of game was the greater factor in developing impulsivity. This was the case no matter gender, race or socioeconomic condition.

Data was collected on 3,034 children aged 8 to 17 years for a period of three years at 12 different school in Singapore. Over the years the children kept records of their game playing and answered questionnaires at three intervals each a year apart. For the impulsivity test, the students were asked to describe their own behaviors and difficulties.

For the purpose of the study impulsivity was described as having a difficult time engaging in or maintaining behavior to reach a goal, especially when difficult or boring.

“It is possible that electronic media use can impair attention necessary for concentration even as it enhances the ability to notice and process visual information,” Gentile explained.

Previous studies have shown that video games do increase visual attention for fast and accurate recognition of environmental information. However, if impulsivity is the cost, parents should take note and decide for themselves.

Source: Psychology and Popular Media Culture, MedicalNewsToday


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